I won’t spend time beating around the bush: Thor & Loki: Double Trouble is a great comic book. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s charming, and as always, Gurihiru’s art wows and amazes. Will this be the next Walt Simonson or Jason Aaron run, to define the character forever? No, but it doesn’t have to be. For what it is – a continuity-free, fun romp around the Asgardian corner of the Marvel Universe – it is basically perfect.
As a character, Thor can easily be boring. He has the power of Superman without the immigrant narrative that grounds Superman; he has the fantastical setting of a full-on high fantasy setting without, and all respect to Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, the setting making that much sense. It would be easy for that to make Thor, well, stupid.
The best Thor stories realize that the emotional core of the God of Thunder is his family, especially his relationship with his brother. It’s that relationship that so many people have, of the brother that you love, you really do, but just keeps on getting on your nerves, poking you in the arm, and needling you – trying to get you angry.
Now, sure, most people’s siblings aren’t frost giants, nor have they tried to conquer the Earth. But when you look at the greatest Thor stories and greatest Loki stories – Walt Simonson’s run, Jason Aaron’s run, Al Ewing’s Agent of Asgard, Kieron Gillen’s Journey into Mystery, and Jay Edidin et al.’s audio drama Thor: Metal Gods – what they all realize is that these superheroic elements are just trappings. Thor’s story is a familial one.
So Mariko Tamaki tells a story about two brothers, about how they fight, about how they argue and trick each other, and yet how they still love each other at the end. And it’s genuinely funny! There are even jokes about the lettering.
I can’t, in good faith, give this comic a perfect 10. It doesn’t redefine Thor; it doesn’t do something to push the medium forwards. It isn’t innovative. But as an example of what comics is, as something to show a fan of the MCU, or someone who has just never picked up a comic before, what a great comic looks like – well, it’s hard to go wrong with Thor & Loki: Double Trouble.
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